While you might say to yourself that none of these things can happen to you or someone you care about; think again. According to the National Council on Aging, financial scams targeting seniors happen so often that they have become the “crime of the 21st century.”

Here are some frequently asked questions about scams that target senior citizens.

Why are senior citizens often the targets of scams?

Seniors can have significant assets and possibly have some form of cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, making them easy prey for the scammers.

ROLFE: Don’t take the bait on phishing scams

PLAN AHEAD: Proper estate planning more than just documents

Why do so many of these scams go unreported?

Unfortunately, many of these actions go unreported for fear of retribution or the so called “stigma” attached to being a victim. Remember, it is not only those suffering from dementia that are targeted, as more than 90 percent of all scams are perpetrated by family members. Scammers can be convincing and work toward obtaining your trust. After all, who would have thought that Bernie Madoff could have gotten away with what he did for so long?

What scams should I be wary of in 2017?

  • Medicare/health insurance scams. Many seniors have received postcards stating that they are eligible to receive a brace (or other medical equipment) that is covered by Medicare. All they have to do is send their Medicare information and they will receive the item for free in the mail. In some cases, the company may send an item, usually a Velcro-style brace. The problem is that illegitimate firms then bill Medicare for devices worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, and use the individual’s Medicare information to bill Medicare for additional services that were never…